Armenia, Turkey Clash over Genocide at UN Security Council (Video)

Foreshadowing next year’s Centennial commemorative events, the Armenian Genocide issue was discussed for the first time at the UN Security Council on January 29.

Armenia’s Ambassador Garen Nazarian, addressing the main topic of the Security Council session, ‘War, its Lessons, and the Search for a Permanent Peace,’ began his remarks with a subtle hint to Turkey on UN’s peacemaking role: “to forge a deeper reconciliation among peoples, based on a shared narrative and memory of a troubled past. Often this process entails more than simply adopting declarations and resolutions, visiting and laying down flowers at victims’ memorials or signing agreements or protocols and shaking hands. To be lasting, reconciliation may require the settling of the past, recognition and acceptance of responsibility for committed crimes.”

Regarding lessons learned from the Armenian Genocide, Amb. Nazarian specifically mentioned that the “reconciliation process could be delayed for decades or even generations. This was the first modern genocide perpetrated under the cover of the First World War.” Armenia’s representative went on to insist that “ending impunity for heinous mass atrocity crimes is vital for restoring justice and normalcy.”

Amb. Nazarian also outlined the steps necessary for proper reconciliation between nations: “successfully reconciled societies and nations usually undergo an extensive process of restoring justice, including reparations to victims and their heirs in order to re-establish their national dignity and identity. It is also imperative to speak with one voice against the distortion of history, the denial of historical crimes, and negationism.”

In his response, Turkey’s UN representative Halit Cevik, not surprisingly, focused on the future rather than his country’s bloody past. Without realizing that he was condemning his own country, the Turkish delegate insisted that “those responsible for the most serious crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes, must be held accountable.” Amb. Cevik then went on to repeat his government’s worn-out denials, claiming that “allegations of genocide regarding the 1915 events have never been legally or historically substantiated. In this same vein, there is neither political nor legal consensus as to the nature of those events…. We believe that deriving animosity from history by trying to imprint on others an incriminating and one-sided view of the past, and calling for selective compassion, is not the proper way of respecting the memory of many Turks, Armenians, and others who lost their lives during the First World War. It is therefore important to face history in its entirety, and through impartial scientific examination of historical records and archives, so that the right lessons may be drawn from history and the common fair memory can be reached.”

Amb. Nazarian, in his right of reply, expressed deep regret to hear the Turkish representative’s “distorted explanations about the undeniable fact of the Armenian Genocide which took the lives of 1.5 million Armenian children, women and men living in the Ottoman Empire during the regime of Young Turks…. It began on April 24, 1915, and went on until 1923 — the systematic and planned slaughter of the entire nation.”

Describing in detail the deportations and massacres culminating in genocide, Amb. Nazarian asserted that “this crime has been recognized by a number of [UN] member states and international organizations, including the United Nations and its subsidiary body — the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.

In a second reply to Amb. Nazarian, Turkey’s representative became more subtle in his denialism: “We did not say that nothing happened in 1915. These events do not fit in the description of genocide which was defined in the [UN] Convention of 1948. Now, an Armenian delegation is raising that the 1915 events are genocide in the absence of any resolution or any decision of the International Court. So how do you expect us…,” before he could finish his statement, his cell phone rang, interrupting him in mid-sentence.

It is very likely that more such confrontations will take place with Turkey leading up to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. Turkish officials do not seem to realize that the more they deny and counter the Armenian activities, the more they help publicize the Genocide and the just demands of the Armenian people. Meanwhile, thanks to the Turkish delegation’s two responses to Amb. Nazarian statements, the Armenian Genocide was extensively discussed at the UN Security Council for the first time ever!

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Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the United Armenian Fund, a coalition of the seven largest Armenian-American organizations. He has been decorated by the president and prime minister of the Republic of Armenia, and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

36 Comments

  1. Well done Armenia! Better late than never seems to be appropriate comment here considering, as Harut says this is the “first time ever” that the Armenian Genocide was discussed at such level – from the tribune of the Security Council of the UN.
    Let’s hope – no not just hope but help, expect and demand from our state leadership in Yerevan – that there will be more fighting talk like this at such levels and in one-to-one contacts with the denialist state. The Armenian state as a subject of international law is in a unique position (vis-à-vis the outdated and in many ways counterproductive “recognition campaigns”) to campaign for JUSTICE which includes the entire spectrum, as Ambassador Nazarian says, from “recognition and acceptance of responsibility for committed crimes… to reparations to victims and their heirs in order to re-establish their national dignity and identity”. It is high time practical steps were taken to form a powerful international legal team of lawyers working under the direction of the Foreign Ministry in Yerevan with a clear agenda of RESTORING JUSTICE TO Genocide victims of 1915-23, first and foremost to the Armenian state and nation as well as to individuals and communities (heirs of survivors).

  2. It’s easy for Turks to concentrate on future of course , when somebody’s committing a crime doesn’t want any one to know or remember that. Turkey’s like an ostrich put its head in the send and thinks nobody can see him, the whole world knows . If some countres put there national interest in front of the Truth it doesn’t mean that they don’t know,
    Don’t invite anyone to your archives , for hundred years you’re cleaning the house from the evidence, burning papers, bulldozing the desert to hide the bones, killing people who talkes about that, lobbiing so hard to keep averyone away and ageiin like an ostrich you think if you can keep your head in the sand long enough averyone will forget about 1500000 Armenians you sloter . Never , tis is just a beginning .

  3. I would also have asked the Turkish delegate to the UN, “Had your parents gone through forced deportations, exterminations, physical & cultural annihilation, and you were the heir of their memories, how would you describe the human disaster?

  4. I was listening to Turkish side and couldn’t help my self laughing ,of course now it’s time to invite people to your archives because hundred years you’re doing housecleaning , burning papers,bulldozing desert to hide the bones, killing people who talk’s about that, yaa now it’s time to invite

  5. The second representative from Turkey to speak was not the same as the first one who responded to the Permanent Representative of Armenia, and he did complete his statement. It is true, his cellphone rang, but he switched it off and continued.

    The link to the video is available in this article. It is edited by the Armenian National Committee of America, but presumably includes all four statements (two by Armenia, two by Turkey) in full.

  6. The successor-state of the Ottomans had written us off. Then the USSR collapsed and overnight the rules of the game changed.
    We say to those sitting-on-the-fence that they do not matter any longer. Justice is on our side. God Almighty is with us and we know our destination.

    • Bedros,

      If Justice is on our side, and God Almighty is with us, why then our Christian nation was subjected to Genocide? This type of mentality makes us vulnerable to future Genocides.

  7. Call it what you may, Turkey and/or Armenia… It is what it is! It is ethno-racio-religious cleansing of the area. Whatever happened in the Balkans, the Caucasian front, or the Arabic Peninsula /North Africa: It is vivid to see how cleansed it got starting from Asia Minor, and spreading from India to Morocco, central Africa to the Black Sea! And the religiosity and racial intolerance started all in Asia Minor, culminating in a so-called “secular” Turkey of 99% Islam. I have no problem with ANY religion, so far as that religion does not exercise strict intolerance; no issue with any race either, so far as it does not impose “ne mutlu Turk um diyene” to all its citizens…That’s modern Turkey, of cleansed 99.5% religiously, imposing 100% racially! That’s Ataturk’s “Modern Secular Turkey”, selling itself to Obama that it can bring about modernism to Islamic streets, tolerance to others, vividly seen through the prism of Copts, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Maronites, Arab Christians, Nigerians, Sudanese, Ethiopians… The truth is there, vividly obvious, and still marching to the outskirts of Europe now! Call it what you want, the fruit tells me what tree you have. Call it Genocide, massacres, pogroms, self-defense, saving the Republic, retaliating to losses to Russia and Franco/British Balkans and to Lawrence of Arabia… yet that intolerant march hasn’t stopped: Israel has to be overthrown in the south, and Armenia should be recaptured by its “lawful” Azeri populace! Arab Spring to the south, Turanism to the north: Putin knows what’s coming; Europe feels how it’s invaded peacefully, and the U.S. is playing politics by achieving economic gains!!! Call it what you may. I could care less of the wording. It is what it is.

  8. Word of mouth is stronger than guns, lets use the power of word of mouth, tarnish the name of Turkey and damage it’s credibiity in the world.

  9. It amazes me that the “civilized” world still allows the Turks to get away with this. How much more proof does the world need? Are the bones of my ancestors strewn through the Anatolian desert not enough? Are the pictures of Armenian corpses floating in the Habur River not enough?

  10. This is incredible that finally at the UN, the word GENOCIDE WAS SPOKEN, I am an Armenian American and second generation immigrant, my grandparent were the first generation, forced to escape Western Turkey, and let’s not forget that that same region was Armenia in the 13th Century. My grandparents escape the Genocide in 1918 when my father was only one years old, and they were successful in doing so the entire family in one horse drawn carriage. They crossed into Bulgaria the closest country next to Turkey, and the King of Bulgaria was welcoming them to find safe heaven. I am reading right now the book, “THE BURNING TIGRIS”, by Peter Balakian, this incredible book describing in such detail the atrocities of the Ottoman empire, under the Sultan Abdul Hamid II 1876-1908, was responsible for the massacres and deaths of 200,000 Armenians in 1894 – 96. Prime minister Gladstone dubbed him “THE GREAT ASSASSIN”.. For anyone who has any doubts about the GENOCIDE, this book will open all eyes, including dates of the first time the American Red Cross was created and it’s first President Clara Barton, and the first leader of the international mission to aid Armenian survivors of massacres in 1896. Julia Ward Howe, an impassioned speaker against the Turkish massacres of the Armenians. The historical facts and the details in the book are so precise, anyone one who has the slightest doubt of the events, that the young Turks took over and finished by the unmistakable and evil leadership of the the two main forces at the time, the minister of the interior in 1915 Talat Pasha who was the chief director of the GENOCIDE of the Armenians, and the Minister of War 1915 Enver Pasha, the leading force in planing the extermination of the Armenians. Between the dates of 1894 and 1923, the Young Turks managed the overall extermination, and the WORD GENOCIDE WAS CREATED when over 1,500,000 Armenians were vaporized under the swords, bullets, bloody river drownings, fires and the total distraction of the Armenian Villages and Communities. Now, the new day YOUNG TURKS, need to know and read the book “THE BURNING TIGRIS”, and learn the real truth of their predecessors, and the the Ottoman Empire.

  11. It’s time to discuss and raise our demand only on higher tribunes. Thanks to Amb. Nazarian and Armenian Authorities, to request our rights for Justice and our rights for “Ararad.” Those who accepted “Holocaust” we can assure you, they know everything about “Genocide.”

  12. the blabber from turkey still goes on,they are not believed by the world and by their own people,turkey needs to tell the truth no other option will be accepted by the civilized world. turkey is very much aware of the horrible genocide against the Armenian people,they can only hide in their lies.the murder of the Armenians, the destruction of churches, towns, schools and stealing of lands and and wealth and kidnapping women, girls and boys they are also aware that they have Armenian blood in their population.memories are still present in turkey of the genocide it speaks through the remnants of the Armenian orphans and good turks and kurds and others that know the truth.THANK YOU AMB. NAZARIAN AND ARMENIA WE NEED MORE IN YOUR FACE SPEECHES. GOD BLESS

  13. turkey is blabbering again, the Armenian genocide is a fact that is recognized by the civilized world, turkey should stop hiding behind its lies. turkey has no choice but to recognize the truth of the genocide. we need more in your face speeches like Amb. nazarian thank you

  14. Our ambassador should have brought up president Woodrow Wilson’s documents, showing Western Armenia’s map for its return back to Armenia!

  15. To use the argument that Turks died along with Armenians in WW I as evidence that this was not a genocide, would be like saying that Germany’s atrocities against the Jews was not a “Holocaust” perpetrated on the Jewish people by Germany, because many Germans died in WW II. Would any Jewish person accept this argument?

  16. Dear Mr Halit Cevik,

    I would ask you to put your political and diplomatic obligations on one side for just a few minutes and answer to this simple question as a dignified and civilised human being worthy a member of UN.

    Let’s assume that Turks are right, they did not commit the Armenian Genocide, and assuming that there was a strange horrible black plague which affected the Armenians only, but what about their historical lands, personal and national properties, their bank accounts, insurance policies, national monuments and the churches ? Did those also strangely vanished in the thin air?

  17. The Turks need to fess up..My grandfather has documented his story during the genocide…torture, slaughtering stories that make the hair stand up on your neck.The past needs to be accepted and agree we must move on..to say it did not happen “genocide” is simply wrong.

  18. Abris!!! Ambassador Garen Nazarian,
    To Bedros-long before the demise of the USSR our¨Khent¨boys did a tremendous job of ¨unearthing¨ our CAUSE/CASE,thought buried for good by great Turkey. Homeland needs to have Diaspora support in all aspects.Latter is delaying its re-organization to become a Super-structure with a Supreme Council(centralized in 5 departments:-
    1.Legal-political in Strasburg (next,not sitting with RA delegate9 but in town.
    2.Economic in geneva(furture nat´l Investment Trust Foundation
    3.Executive in NY (next to our delegate-(in town)
    4. Social relations and future Repatriation organizing,in Moscow
    5. The Spriritual (thanks God we ahve that) in st. Etchmiadzin in conjunction with great House of Kilikia!!!
    Time is gold .We must move!!!

  19. My own grand parents have suffered a genocide by the Turkish State, 353,000 of our peoplefrom Pontos, not icluding the other Greek people, from other areas of Turkey, which have died by methods which are known to all, starvation, white death marches in the winter, vacinations which slowlly killed the people. If Turkey wants to be considered as part of the western wold, should, like the Germans did, recognize the crimes that has committed to Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and other Groups in Turkey!!!!

  20. God bless you Amb. Nazarian…May you stay healthy throughout this long fight. Your people are with you. You are the voice of the 1.5 million who we lost and their families. Your on center stage right now and the world is listening to you.

  21. If Attaturk the founder of to days Modern Turkey visited New York City
    admitted that the Turkish government killed more than 1 Million
    Christian Armenians which was written in New York Time.
    How come to-days Turkish government denies that Genocide Crime never happened.

  22. Turkey has to learn that Money can buy a lot of things but the truth. The fact is, that had they acknowledge the crime they committed against the Armenians and negotiated a compensation plan including returning the lands back to Armenians, this issue would have been solved a long time ago and Turkey could’ve saved $billions and secure themselves a place into the European Union.

    • If there is a settlement of the Armenian question based on what international Armenian lobbies propose, I still doubt that Turkey will join the EU. Besides surveys show that 70% percent of Turkey (Kemalists, Islamists, Leftists, and some Liberals) believe that it is time to give up with the EU talks. It is just the stupid AKP party doing this just to sell Turkey’s sovereignty (hence the Gezi movement starting). Besides what is the benefits of EU membership for Turkey. Look at it’s neighbor to the west Greece. Greece has the highest unemployment ever (20%+), highest taxes, high business regulations, and an economy about to collapse. Same with Portgual, Italy and Spain. Their economies are total basket cases. Sure, residents of each countries make a Higher Income then residents of Turkey, but look at California vs Texas and their economies. California has lots of debt, welfare, unemployment, high taxes and high crime (even though you see people driving BMWs and Mercedes Benzs in Los Angeles or San Diego. Texas creates lots of jobs, high employment rates, low taxes, low food prices, low gas prices and you see more Middle Class people. So my point is, the EU is collapsing and will fall in a few years.

  23. We ought to demand the return of Kars and Ani from Turky and urge the UN to redraw and officialize the re drawing the new Western Boarder of Armenia.

  24. Good job indeed. If there is a chance that Yerevan and the Diaspora have the same demands, it’s good news. But what use was it for Armenia to sign protocols including a commission of historians, without even telling the Diaspora’s activists who felt betrayed? Incidentally, trendy as it may sound, the word “reconciliation” is misused. It was or is also improper in South-Africa or in the case of Australia’s Stolen Generations : it is not as if Armenians and Turks, Africans and Afrikaaners, Aborigines and the white British had been initially friends or allies, and then a conflict broke out, after which they would reconcile. In all three cases one defenseless people was oppressed, crushed, massacred, discriminated against and spoliated from day one. So perhaps the victims and their victimizers can “establish friendly relations” after an apology and compensation, but they cannot “reconcile” as one would with a cousin, a mother, or a friend after a row. The word “reconciliation” is often used by Ankara’s supporters to imply that the Ottoman era was heaven for Christians, who consequently must have done something awful to cause the end of that friendship and bring about the “unfortunate incidents” in which some of them died… So it would be a good idea to look for a better word or words, wouldn’t it? Meanwhile, it’s great that the Security Council heard about the Genocide and bravo Mr Ambassador.

  25. Harry is right,so is Marina .But first to Anahid:-
    It is not just Kars and Ani,but Van Erzeroum, Ardahan and a few more.These are lands mainly populated at present by Kurds.Some 16-18 million.Turkish Genderms there to oversee that they do not rebel.
    UN,even if they pass a resolution that these are Armenian lands(Western Armenia) the present fascist Turkish state will not willingly offer that to us and Kurds on silver platter!!!
    When the Kurdish issue becomes RIPE,so to say, then there may be some ways of resolving it with latter.But contacts w/lattter from now on is good.
    To Marina ,as you write the use of the word re-concilliation is wrong.Diaspora and Homeland always have been on the same platform as rgds the CASE/CAUSE.However,circumstances during soviet days and even now prompt us, not to say dicate..that we sometimes act on different demands etc.
    I PERSONALLY THINK WE SHOULD AT PRESENT JOINTLY DEMAND ¨ b l o o d m o n e y ¨¨ like the Jews did from nazi Germany and received. Land issue can wait ,some more. We are over impatient for that. IT IS THERE, I´VE SAID BEFORE,it will not pull the disappearing act.Kurds aare actually on these lands mainly ,said that above.So rapproachement ought to begin with latter NOW!!!!

  26. You did a very good job Amb. Nazarian , I’ve been waiting to see this day is coming for a long time, every body else know that something must and needs to be done to clean up the criminal past of Turkey, also to ensure that the genocide won’t accrue again, in order to make people fill safe, I encourage you, to keep bringing this issue anytime you can again and again, until we Armenian people get our just right and be safe and secure in our lands, thank you.

  27. In early 1900’s or before there were approxamately 3 or 4? Mi
    llion Armenians Christians living in Eastern Turkey… Then about 1925 there were only 800 or 900 thousand living there…what happened to them…did they emigrate to Australia or elsewhere? Of course these figures are wrong but you get the point!!!

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